The longer I live, the more interested I am in speaking the truth in love. I have come to believe that it’s the closest thing I can do to imitate a God who both loves and disciplines us. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, loving someone means that you WILL speak the truth; you simply speak it without sarcasm or anger. And you trust that the hearer knows just how much you love them.
And so here we are. I’m ready to write about something that has bothered me for more than ten years. And I know it will be met with some heavy defense. I have to write it anyway because I believe it to be truth and sometimes I simply have to stand publicly for truth. Even when it isn’t popular.
It was ten years ago, maybe a little more, when I viewed my first episode of “The Bachelor.” TV reality series were all the rage and this was the latest and, according to ratings, the greatest.
Only it wasn’t. So I turned it off. Somewhere in the deep of me it felt wrong to leave it on in my home. It just didn’t go with our “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” wall plaque.
A few years passed and I saw a social media post announcing a “Bachelor Party” at the home of a friend that evening. The women were to come in pajamas, bring snacks and watch what is apparently “reality” together. A party.
Because I admired those hosting and attending the party I decided that the show must have gone through a cleansing of some sort. I knew those women did not live the life style portrayed on the show I had seen a few years earlier. So I decided to watch it again…to see what I was missing. I wasn’t missing anything. The show had not changed. If anything, it was worse. And I felt sick.
So what is the truth that I must speak in love with season 19 looming on the horizon?
1) Truth: Jesus would not attend “The Bachelor” party with me. That statement needs no explanation. It’s simply truth.
2) Truth: I dishonor my husband when I live vicariously through “The Bachelor.” I don’t know how I can expect Tim to be true to me in what he chooses to look at when I refuse to honor him in the same way. And this is where women get in trouble. We love romance and there is nothing wrong with that. We were made for emotional engagement. But we were never intended to be reckless in the fulfillment of that need. Living a fantasy through what we read and/or watch can really have the same effect on our marriage as when a husband chooses to view pornography. It simply brings us to a place of discontentment. And no one wins there.
I wonder what would happen in our homes if the time spent fantasizing with “The Bachelor” was instead invested in date nights with our spouse?
3) Truth: Watching “The Bachelor” tells my daughter that it’s okay with me if she chooses to “try out” her dates. What a travesty to spend so much time training her up in the way she should go only to completely contradict that teaching through careless entertainment choices. Everything I have known of women and girls who “try out” their dates behind the closed doors of a bedroom only leads to heartache and pain. I want so much more than that for her. True, she will make her own choices, but I don’t want what comes through the box in our home to contribute to her desensitizing. There are enough places she will fight that without adding our safe family room to the list.
4) Truth: Attending a bachelor party with my girlfriends, dressed in my jammies with a bowl of popcorn on my lap simply tells those friends that I have bought into the world’s definition of love. And that I find it entertaining. I haven’t and I don’t. I still believe there are young men and women who save themselves for their marriage partner…on purpose. And I believe they have great freedom from regret in the bedroom when they do marry.
And there you have it. The other side of my “Secrets in the Sanctuary and Even Behind the Sacred Desk” blog. The most disturbing part of this epidemic for me is that there is nothing secret about it. It lives in wide open places. Invitations are made on social media. Some of the parties are even church parties. And it doesn’t seem we even pause to consider what we are endorsing…nor does it matter that we have become completely desensitized.
And so, it is with lots of love that I quote (for you and for myself):
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about (and watch) such things.” Philippians 4:8
THAT should be our standard.
JoAnne, At the risk of becoming debloggered, I want to ask a question that has been rattling around in my heart since I read the statement “Jesus would not have attended the Bachelor party with me.” I am curious if you mean that if He were alive as a human and you invited him, he would not have said yes….. or that when the ladies chose to attend, the Spirit of God vacated their beings at the door?
I do not want to take your blog a place that you didn’t intend, but the implication that the Holy Spirit moves out when we sin is very troubling for me…… my personal sadness, and greatest blessing, is that, while I have paid dearly for sins that are now in the past, God never left me, or stopped pursuing me, no matter where I went or what I did. I hope you see the value in this question and an ensuing discussion.
By the way, I should have said in my first comment that I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said in the rest of the post…… while we do not watch The Bachelor types of programs in our home, I have had more of a problem with watching shows that cause me to laugh at things that break God’s heart, because they are sinful. The media, in the last few decades, has certainly done a good job of desensitizing us from things that are really very harmful.
JoAnne Hancock said:
I agree with you Doug. God never ever stops pursuing us and, for that, I am also so grateful. I would have been left at the door many times. That said, I become very troubled over our “abuse” of His grace. We, as Christians, mishandle His holiness so often. This blog was primarily written for those who profess Christ yet behave as if He never intended to make all things new in us.
I had a similar question posed on the facebook version of “My Life in Ink.” This is how I responded there:
My initial thinking is that Jesus wouldn’t show up to be entertained while wearing His pjs and eating popcorn. He would show up in order to find a way to convict lovingly – rather than condemn. And his conviction always comes through relationship. So, yes….He may well show up but not with the same intention of the current popular party mode.
P.S. I would never deblog you. I knew when I started this venture that I had to be ready for other points of view. Iron sharpens iron.
I love your response…… you see, I hate that I have taken the Spirit of our precious Savior places that in no way reflect the holiness and worship that He is deserving of…. I HATE it! ……. but the truth is that for a lifetime, He has allowed me to experience His working toward me becoming a vessel He can use…. he has been relentless in leading me out of the darkness….. and I am so grateful that He did not leave me, although I will tell you that there is no one on earth more miserable than the Christian who is being disciplined by the Spirit of our loving God.
That being said, your response about Him showing up (or staying in us) to convict lovingly is a wonderful truth. God saved us from our sin, and He did not do so to allow us to remain comfortable in it. I only hope He can use my life to help others come out of the darkness and walk in truth and light.
Thanks for what you are allowing God to do through you….. you are a light!
It seems like a million years ago now that I heard a speaker talking about women who watch the soap operas. He said that you can get so involved in them that your own life can become a soap opera. I made the decision then to not watch them. You are right in saying that the so-called “reality” shows aren’t sending the Christian message we as Christian women should be sending. The values we should have and should present aren’t there. It’s scary to think about how many buy into them.
Marilyn Jo said:
JoAnne, great insight! The complete opposite point of view is portrayed on the TLC program “19 KIDS AND COUNTING”. The young couples “courting” on the show are a bit extreme, but refreshing, and are saving themselves for marriage and honoring God in the process.
Well said. I experienced a different type of desensitization in my home this week, and had to take a step back and evaluate what I allow to be shown/viewed in my home. It’s a real eye opener and the world will say “It’s no big deal.” But, my friends, it is so much more than that! Thank you for sharing!
Debbie Merki said:
Amen! (And don’t forget the Bachelorette . . . because depravity is an equal opportunity destroyer, after all.)
Diane Hammond said:
I agree with you completely. I don’t understand the attraction of such a vile show. There is no faithfulness of a partner there…….it’s about who can out “sex” the other girls. It makes me sick. The things that I taught my daughter are nothing at all like what these girls are portraying. Enduring love and being faithful at all times with your one and only is a Godly thing. I didn’t let my kids “date” in high school……life has enough complications without that drama……it doesn’t mean that I didn’t let them go out with a group of kids……as a group it just made things simpler. It is really tough to find anything worth your time to watch on tv these days…….so I resort to HGTV. Thanks for your thoughts.
Excellent choice of words Jo! Great truth shared! Just this week I was having a conversation with my own adult, married daughter and had the opportunity to remind her that just because the majority say/do it…does not make it right or acceptable. Her eyes bulged and she said, “Mom, do you think I don’t know that? Of course I do, I’m just telling you what people are thinking. It’s just not right!” Gotta admit, I kind of like it when she gets her wholesome gander up. 🙂
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